Creating a Professional Competency Development Plan

naspa professional standards division

Lindelle Fraser

July 30, 2018

For new practitioners, professional competency development can seem daunting at first. Aside from juggling the demands of our day-to-day work in student affairs, we feel pressured to excel in our careers, maintain our personal lives, drink enough water, exercise, survive, be happy, AND also formulate a game plan to progress in professional competencies. I get it – staring down the comprehensive list of the ten ACPA/NASPA competencies at foundational, intermediate, and advanced levels can feel overwhelming. You may be asking yourself, “How and when can I fit all of this in?” The answer is simple: you can’t – at least not all at once!

Tackling a huge and worthwhile project like professional competency development reminds me of a well-known adage: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The same goes for professional competency development. Instead of attempting to progress in all ten competency areas at once, pick one or two to focus on this year. The following list has some excellent resources and tips to help you get organized and stay on track in your professional competency development journey.

  1. Establish your baseline:

Click on the link to open the Professional Competencies Self-Assessment and Development Plan. This resource provides a self-rating system for all of the ACPA/NASPA professional competencies. After completing the self-rating, you will have a good idea where your strengths lie and which competencies present areas of opportunity.

  1. Consider your current position, the needs of your organization, and your personal career goals:

Using the Professional Development Worksheet on the last page of the Professional Competencies Self-Assessment and Development Plan, jot down your thoughts on how competency development relates to your current position and how your growth can support the mission of your organization and promote your career trajectory.

  1. Select the competency/level that best fits your commitment to your organization and your short- and long-term goals:

After reviewing the self-assessment and answering the questions on the professional development worksheet, select the competency that is a best fit with your commitment to your organization and your short- and long-term goals.

  1. Talk with your supervisor and/or mentor about development opportunities:

As it goes with accomplishing any major professional goal, you will need support, encouragement, and deadlines. Talk with your supervisor and/or your student affairs mentor about your professional competency development goals. They have the experience and professional network to help you connect with the resources you will need to be successful.

  1. Let NASPA help!

NASPA has a variety of resources available to practitioners seeking to advance in knowledge and skill level:

Lindelle Fraser
Assistant to the Vice President Student Affairs
Arkansas Tech University

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